Gaza Strip: PA, Hamas exchange accusations as three die in clashes
The Palestinian interior ministry on Sunday evening condemned the clashes in Gaza City, which killed three people and injured more than 50 others. The ministry blamed Hamas movement.
A statement by the ministry accused Hamas members of "obstructing the duty of Palestinian policemen," as well as targeting several police stations around Gaza City with bombs, rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) and heavy gunfire.
"Hamas bears full responsibility for breaking the law and order, and for destruction of public properties as well as assaulting a large number of civilians, including children," the ministry's statement read, according to RNA.
The interior ministry further mentioned that by these clashes, Hamas movement has considered itself "above the law and national consensus," asserting the Palestinian Authority's intentions to implement the agreements with the different factions and crack down on all "negative aspects regardless of the perpetrators' affiliation."
Palestinian medical sources had declared earlier on Sunday that three Palestinians were killed, including Ali Mekkawi - a major in the Palestinian police, and more than 50 others were wounded when heavy clashes erupted between Hamas fighters and Palestinian security agents.
The incident started following an attempt by the PA police to arrest Mohammed Rantissi, son of assassinated Hamas leader Abdul Aziz Rantissi. Eyewitnesses said that Hamas supporters burned down a police station and several police cars at the crowded Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City, as explosions shook some of the city suburbs.
Meanwhile, the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas held the PA security responsible for the clashes and accused the PA interior ministry of provoking discord in the Palestinian arena.
According to Hamas, PA police tried to arrest Rantissi, people tried to prevent the police from arresting him and the police started firing at his car and at the people who gathered to prevent the arrest wounding many residents. Angered by police action the people attacked the police and stormed a number of police stations.
The Qassam Brigades added that they would remain "faithful to the blood of martyrs and will not be drawn into internal conflict with the PA and that its weapons will always be pointed at the Zionist enemy."